Ussil Udnut

Ussil Udnut

Ussil Udnut is not the opposition candidate trying today to unseat one of Africa’s most autocratic Heads of State. His real name dare not be spelled correctly, because the government he hopes to run blocks all social media that carries his actual name.

Worse, some message writers are then harassed by police even as WHO estimates 40% of the population is sick with Covid. This is Tanzania Today.

Feisty Tanzanians use my Facebook AfricaAnswerman, regardless of its topic, to post messages from the opposition candidate as one of the few ways to spread the opposition’s message.

The freedom opposition in Tanzania is fearless. The few opposition Members of Parliament still functional have been tortured even in public, their demonstrations brutally suppressed by police.

In one of his first moves as dictator, the current president John Magufuli moved the capital from the coastal metropolis of Dar-es-Salaam to the exceedingly remote interior town of Dodoma, which still doesn’t have an airport.

Numerous journalists have been killed or disappeared. Many foreign journalists are banned. Draconian laws prevent local media from republishing foreign content.

Magufuli declared Tanzania “Covid Free” in May. It’s now against the law to speak of the disease.

In one of the first moves of the Trump administration in Africa, then Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flew to Tanzania to do something only later explained, something at the time we could only guess at since it was praised by Magufuli officials.

Subsequently, the world renown lion researcher who had worked in the Serengeti for 43 years was replaced by a staffer from the NRA. Subsquently, Donald Jr. and other big game hunters could bring back trophies into America that were banned before.

That comports with the unbelievability of random albeit trivial actions by dictatorships round the world which ultimately prove not to be random, but carefully constructed alliances that suppress freedom and science, much less meaningful diplomacy.

There’s little hope that the incorrectly spelled opposition candidate will win.

What does “win” mean, anyway today? Uncounted thousands of mailed in ballots? High court officials publicly praising voting restrictions? Thousands of supporters chanting “Lock Him Up!”? Hundreds of vigilante groups “patroling” election polls? Facebook blocking political ads? Tanzania blocking the opposition candidates name?

Magufuli’s win will slide Tanzania further into unfriendly autocracy.

I’ve lived through numerous African dictatorships and not so long ago was at last relieved that many were falling, overcome mostly by youthful rationale.

But things changed quickly in the last few years. Perhaps you’ve noticed it where you live?